agnès films’ member Marie Ullrich‘s is working on her first feature film The Alley Cat and has launched a kickstarter campaign in order to have enough funding to complete the project. Click here to visit the kickstarter page. Please help spread the word about this wonderful project. You can learn more about Marie’s work from the press release below:
Women take the helm
It was widely reported that there were no films by women directors in the main competition at Cannes this year. Passions on the comments boards on websites such as IndieWire to discussions in film-specific LinkedIn Groups ranged from people claiming that women-helmed films lack quality, to those pointing out that obtaining funding is still problematic for women and a major factor to a lack of output by female directors.
One local director’s answer is to make a film about a strong female lead character using crowd-sourced funds. That director is Marie Ullrich, and her film The Alley Cat (slated for production in July) is about a female bike messenger in Chicago who competes in an alley cat – an underground bike messenger race – that becomes a spiritual and physical journey after the evening takes a hard turn.
Ullrich says, “I make films about strong female lead characters for whom neither the essential problem nor its solution is romantic, and I chose to go with Kickstarter for crowd-sourced funds because didn’t want to feel like I was asking permission (from a studio) to make my movie or to wait three years in development before the project gets green-lit.”
Ullrich has made two bicycle-oriented projects already, the short film Faster!, which has played at juried film festivals internationally (and continues its festival run this month on tour in Germany with interfilmBerlin), and a spec commercial for Chrome Messenger Bags which won a Bronze Telly Award (the Telly’s second highest honor). Ullrich says that empowerment is important to her, and bicycles are empowering.
Ullrich hopes her film will gain theatrical distribution and get heavy play in the festival circuit. She wants the film to invigorate the discussion around urban cycling and sharing the road with motorists – a problem she says she contends with daily as a cyclist in Chicago. “Despite being ranked the 5th best city in the U.S. for cycling, there is a lot of hostility out there on the part of drivers, and a lot of distracted driving making the roads unsafe for cyclists. Cyclists are inherently more vulnerable. My film doesn’t paint the cyclists as angels. It problematizes their behavior in a realistic way. I want the conversation to continue, and for awareness to increase on both sides.”